Middle East / North Africa

As U.N. backs gay rights, Iran says gays are sick criminals

Ahmed Shaheed

Ahmed Shaheed

Dr. Mohammad Javad Larijani, secretary of Iran’s High Council for Human Rights, on March 14 defended Iran’s treatment of LGBT people, responding to a damning report by the United Nation’s Special Rapparteur on Human Rights in Iran.

That report by Ahmed Shaheed, a former foreign affairs minister of the Maldives, described widespread human rights violations, including those of LGBT people. Under Iranian law, homosexual activities are punishable by death.

Based on interviews with 24 members of the Iranian LGBT community, the report stated that:

Fifteen interviewees believed that they were arrested at least once for their sexual orientation or for associating with other LGBT persons.

Thirteen reported that once in detention, security officers subjected them to some form of torture or physical abuse; including punches, kicks and baton strikes to the head or body and, in a few cases, sexual assault and rape.

Several people reported that they were coerced into signing confessions. Iran’s criminalisation of same-sex relations facilitates physical abuse in the domestic setting as well.

A majority of these individuals reported that they were beaten by family members at home, but could not report these assaults to the authorities out of fear that they would themselves be charged with a criminal act.

Larijani stated in reply:

Mohammad Javad Larija (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Mohammad Javad Larija (Photo by Roozbeh Pournader courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

  • None of the UN documents that we have signed requires us to respect [LGBT rights]. Till twenty years ago, those same countries that are now imposing this destructive form of moral corruption on us used to ban homosexuality and consider it a sickness, or even a crime.

  • In our country, homosexuality is a form of sickness and a wrong behavior that can be punished. Obviously, those charged with this crime are in violation of the law, although at the same time they are entitled to their rights.

  • Unlike the UK and the USA, we do not spy on our citizens with advanced technology. In those countries, people in their own bathrooms have no privacy and can’t be sure if a state-owned camera is not watching them. We don’t do this. But at the same time if someone wants to break the law through  homosexual propaganda, or if they want to promote this behavior, our laws have very severe penalties for them.

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